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Parenting

Ask Sarah: When to Stop Co-sleeping

Parenting expert Sarah Rosensweet shares advice on co-sleeping with older kids and how to help with their anxiety if it's contributing to the habit

Ask Sarah: When to Stop Co-sleeping

Getty / Cavan Images

Struggling with tantrums, bedtime boundaries, or simply wondering how to raise happy, confident kids? Sarah Rosensweet offers peaceful parenting advice to help families find balance.

Have a question for Sarah? Send us an email at editors@todaysparent.com.

Q: My daughter still has her 12-year-old boy sleeping with her. I have told her this is not normal, and she refuses to listen to me. He will be 13 in August and is a great kid. What can I do?

A: I’m sure some folks would disagree with me, but even as a co-sleeping enthusiast, I believe 12 is too old to sleep in the same bed with your parent(s) as a regular thing. A 12-year-old is entering puberty and needs privacy.

I wonder if your grandson is anxious about sleeping alone and your daughter doesn’t know how to support him. If it’s because he’s anxious, he needs support. Anxiety doesn’t usually go away by itself.

Ultimately, you can’t do anything about this, as your daughter is in charge. However, if you think she might listen to you, here's how to proceed. Whenever we have to discuss something sensitive with someone, leading with empathy and understanding is a great idea.

mother and daughter sitting at the kitchen table talking Getty / Calvin Rossi

I would say, “You are a great mom and have done a wonderful job raising your son. At the same time, I wonder if he might be struggling with anxiety, and that’s why he's still sleeping with you. From what I’ve read about anxiety, kids don’t grow out of it, and he might need your help to learn some tools to feel okay sleeping on his own.”

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Then give her some resources. My favourite for families struggling with anxiety is the book Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents by Lynn Lyons and Reed Wilson. Good luck!

Need support with other parenting challenges? Our Ask Sarah series covers topics like how to help with anxiety and build confidence, how to reduce bedtime struggles and how to prepare for playdates.

Author:

Sarah Rosensweet is a certified peaceful parenting coach, speaker, and educator. She lives in Toronto with her husband and her 15 and 18-year-old kids. Her 22-year-old son has launched.

Peaceful parenting is a non-punitive, connection-based approach that uses firm limits with lots of empathy. Sarah works one-on-one virtually with parents all over the world to help them go from frustrated and overwhelmed to, “We’ve got this!”

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Sarah offers a free course, How To Stop Yelling At Your Kids so that you can be the parent you want to be. Read more at: www.sarahrosensweet.com  or listen to her top-rated parenting podcast, The Peaceful Parenting Podcast, wherever you get your podcasts!

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